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Lake Michigan Monster (2018) - Blu-ray Review

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Lake Michigan Monster (2018)

Shot in black-and-white on a shoestring budget of nickels and dimes, Lake Michigan Monster is - at once - alarmingly successful in its goal of sending-up the whole monster hunting motif in horror films as a wronged sea captain living in a lighthouse mounts a hilarious hunt involving a weapons “expert”, a sonar specialist, and a seafaring navy man whose one objective seems to be strong-arming the monster.

"if this flick isn’t the funniest thing to come floating amongst the pond scum on Lake Michigan then I don’t know what is."


Together, this wackadoo group of monster hunters goes crate-digging for cliches and hare-brained story nuggets that they can cleverly turn into comic satire.  The movie, written and directed by Ryland Brickson Cole Tews, is absurd and outlandish and often goes for the lowest common denominator in achieving its joke, but - DAMN! - if this flick isn’t the funniest thing to come floating amongst the pond scum on Lake Michigan then I don’t know what is.

Beginning with a chuckle as this film plots out its revenge, the laughs soon turn ferociously funny as Captain Seafield (Tews) returns to the scene of where his father was eaten by a disturbing sea creature.  Sure, it’s only a few steps from the shore of Lake Michigan, but - as he explains to the monster hunting crew he’s assembled - it doesn’t matter how far from the shore the attack happened, it matters that it happened at all.Lake Michigan Monster (2018)

And Seafield wants his revenge.  

Co-starring Erick West, Beulah Peters and Daniel Long, Lake Michigan Monster might be light on story, clocking in at a very brief running time of 78-minutes, but it is constantly engaging as what is originally played for bawdy laughter turns into Lovecraftian horror right before our eyes.  All these elements, complete with a backstory that is far more disturbing than expected, makes Lake Michigan Monster a solid choice for Arrow Video to handle with this its blu-ray debut.

Lake Michigan Monster and its sure-footed ridiculousness should not be understated as a smashed egg leads to meditations on human and monster relations.  The awkwardness of this film and its cast leads to some truly funny beats.  This outlandish comedy, complete with a rollicking ending, works on many levels to deliver a sea-faring comedy for its larger-than-life characters to chase monsters against.

Lake Michigan Monster is now on blu-ray thanks to Arrow Video.

4/5 beers

Lake Michigan Monster (2018)

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Arrow Films
Available on Blu-ray
- November 3, 2020
Screen Formats: 1.78:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; English: LPCM 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

All aboard! The combined spirits of H.P. Lovecraft, early Sam Raimi and Mystery Science Theater 3000 inhabit this action-packed tale of nautical derring-do and monster mayhem – winner of the Audience Award for Best International Feature at the 2019 Fantasia Film Festival.

On the shores of Lake Michigan, the eccentric Captain Seafield (Ryland Brickson Cole Tews, who also writes and directs) enlists a colorful crew of misfits in a bid to slay the hellish sea monster that prowls the murky depths. But as Seafield’s obsession with exacting revenge on the creature that killed his father threatens to consume him, can weapons expert Sean Shaughnessy (Erick West), sonar whiz Nedge Pepsi (Beulah Peters) and former N.A.V.Y. – Nautical Athletes and adVenture Yunit – officer Dick Flynn (Daniel Long) hold the show together?

Shot in gloriously retro black and white on a shoestring budget, with most of the cast also performing multiple roles behind the camera, Lake Michigan Monster is an inventive, irreverent and riotously entertaining ode to the classic monster movies of yesteryear: an absurdist urban legend guaranteed to appeal to the big kid in all of us.

Video:

With an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, Lake Michigan Monster comes to life thanks to this 1080p transfer which was provided by Ryland Tews.  The black-and-white image is crisp and detailed, showing strong depth in the picture that is unexpected.   This is a cheaply made movie and it shows as some of the props are of the lowest caliber, yet work in creating the intended effect of lampooning horror flicks.  Most of the effects were green screened and it shows, but the transfer doesn’t disappoint thanks to strong edges and crackling lines.  Facial imperfections are brought to life thanks to the strong handling.

Audio:

The audio is presented in the original 5.1 Surround Sound and, as a bonus, a stereo option is included.  Dialogue is strong and clear.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • Hilariously enough, there are two cast and crew commentaries.  One features the cast and crew sober and the other features the same players absolutely blitzed out of their minds.  Featuring comments from writer/director/actor Ryland Tewls and actors Daniel Long, Beulah Peters, Erick West and editor Mike Cheslik, it is hilarious.  There is a third commentary from Alexandra Heller-Nicholas and Emma Westwood.

Special Features:

Arrow Video packs this release with solid supplemental material including a look at the special effects, the Captain Seafield theme song, performed by the Seafield Monster Sextet, an interview with Ryland Tews and Daniel Long at the Fantasia International Film Festival, interviews with the cast and crew at the Beloit International Film Festival, an interview with Mike Cheslik on Mark Borchardt’s Cinema Fireside radio show, and a look at Ryland Tews and Mike Cheslik’s hybrid animation/live action sci-fi comedy web series Ryland Tews and Mike Cheslik’s hybrid animation/live action sci-fi comedy web series.  A Theatrical Trailer and Behind the Scenes Photos rounds out the collection.  Collectors will enjoy the reversible sleeve featuring original artwork by Jade Watring and newly commissioned artwork by Colin Murdoch which is included in the release.

  • Effects Breakdown
  • Dear Old Captain Seafield
  • Interview in a Cabin
  • Interview in a Bar
  • Interview by a Fire
  • L.I.P.S. Pilot Episode and Entire First Season
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Behind The Scenes Photos

Blu-ray Rating:

  Movie 4/5 stars
  Video  4/5 stars
  Audio 4/5 stars
  Extras 3/5 stars

Overall Blu-ray Experience

4/5 stars

Lake Michigan Monster

MPAA Rating: Unrated.
Runtime:
78 mins
Director
: Ryland Brickson Cole Tews
Writer:
Ryland Brickson Cole Tews
Cast:
Ryland Brickson Cole Tews, Erick West, Beulah Peters
Genre
: Adventure | Comedy | Fantasy
Tagline:

Memorable Movie Quote:
Distributor:
Arrow Films
Official Site:
Release Date:
July 31, 2020
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
November 3, 2020.
Synopsis: On the shores of Lake Michigan, the eccentric Captain Seafield (Ryland Brickson Cole Tews, who also writes and directs) enlists a colourful crew of misfits in a bid to slay the hellish sea monster that prowls the murky depths. But as Seafield's obsession with exacting revenge on the creature that killed his father threatens to consume him, can weapons expert Sean Shaughnessy (Erick West), sonar whiz Nedge Pepsi (Beulah Peters) and former N.A.V.Y. – Nautical Athletes and adVenture Yunit – officer Dick Flynn (Daniel Long) hold the show together?

Lake Michigan Monster

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